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Programs of Study in Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology

Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology is a multi-faceted discipline that comprises many diverse subjects. To reflect this diversity, the section is organized into the following three programs of graduate study, shown with their major emphases:

Plant Pathology

  • Biology and Ecology of Plant Pathogens
  • Epidemiology and Population Biology of Plant Pathogens
  • Etiology, Diagnosis, and Management of Plant Diseases

Plant-Microbe Biology

  • Molecular and Cellular Basis of Inter-organismal Interactions
  • Functional Genomics and Proteomics
  • Plant Responses to Symbionts and Pathogens

Fungal and Oomycete Biology

  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Systematics, Ecology, and Evolution

In addition to the core requirements and expectations of all students in the Field of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, each program of study has its own core expectations and requirements. At the same time, there is overlap among programs of study, and the boundaries are purposely diffuse to maximize interaction. Students and faculty interact frequently, without regard to program boundaries, and take advantage of the synergies possible by exploring the intersections across programs of study.

On completing a research master's (MS, typically 2-3 years) or doctoral degree (PhD, typically 4-6 years) a student is expected to have demonstrated:

  • Broad knowledge of core concepts and factual information in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology and mastery of a specialized area of study.
  • The ability to think critically and apply the scientific method to create new knowledge.
  • Original and substantive scholarly contribution to the field, commensurate with the degree (MS or PhD).
  • The ability to communicate effectively to professional and lay audiences through writing, speaking, and graphics.
  • Teaching competence, developed through TA, seminar, and speaking experiences.
  • Awareness of ethics and compliance responsibilities.
  • Professional skills, including collaboration, organization, and time management, and, for PhD students, grant proposal writing, mentoring, and project management, necessary to conduct an independent research program.